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Indiana to introduce LGBT protections ‘balanced’ with religious freedom

Joseph McCormick November 17, 2015

Leaders in the Indiana Senate have vowed to extend protections to LGBT people, but compromised on adding religious freedom for “balance”.

This comes just months after a huge furore over a previous religious freedom bill which was slated for allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.

Republicans in the Senate said they planned to introduced the measure to enhance protections for LGBT people as soon as Tuesday.

However, in order to achieve “balance”, they also added protections for religious freedom.

Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, told the IndyStar: “I can just tell you that there’ll be strong language in there for both civil rights and for religious freedom, and so we’ll just leave it at that.

“We’re trying to do our best to get a balanced piece of legislation.”

No further information has been given, but the politicians will meet at the Indiana Statehouse for Organisation Day on Tuesday.

This allows them to prepare for the 2016 legislative session, which starts in January.

A battle over LGBT protections and religious freedoms has been waged in Indiana, since Governor Mike Pence earlier this year signed a bill protecting religious freedom.

Indiana came under fire earlier this year when the Republican-controlled legislature passed a ‘religious freedom’ law permitting anti-gay discrimination based on religion.

The bill was feared by LGBT rights advocates who said it might enable business owners to discriminate against LGBT people.

Not before a huge outpouring of opposition, the bill was amended to state specifically that it could not be used to discriminate.

LGBT rights activists have since, however, called for more protections for LGBT people against discrimination at home, in the workplace and other situations.

The owners of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana had said they would use the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to refuse to serve pizza at a gay wedding.

Obama also made a quip about the pizzeria at an annual speech at the White House: “Let me set the record straight, I tease Joe [Biden] sometimes but he has been at my side for seven years. I love that man.

“He’s not just a great Vice President, he’s a great friend. We’ve gotten so close there’s places in Indiana that won’t serve us pizza any more.”

More: Indiana, LGBT protections, Mike Pence, US

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